West Ham United could well be facing a major post-season setback, amid reports that midfield star Declan Rice won’t be signing a new deal.
According to Claret and Hugh, the Hammers have reportedly ‘confirmed’ that the 23-year-old will not be agreeing to a new contract this summer. This represents a twist as there were ‘hopes’ from within that club that he could commit his future to the London Stadium.
The England international has just two years remaining on his existing deal – with the option of an extra year – having been rumoured to have rejected a remarkable eight-year extension from the east London outfit worth an estimated £83m.
While it would appear he will remain at the club for at least another season, with the Premier League side placing a £150m price tag on his head to ward off any interest, the belief is that he will more than likely be moving on at the end of next term, as per this latest report.
Although there is the positive news that the £62k-per-week gem should be a West Ham player for the 2022/23 season, that will seemingly only marginally soften the blow, with supporters facing what looks like an inevitable separation with their talisman, something that will no doubt leave them worried.
Having been plucked at the age of 14 after being released by London rivals Chelsea, Rice has gone on to become an integral asset to the Irons, notably taking on captaincy duty in the absence of Mark Noble in recent seasons.
Not just a leading figure at the club, the £67.5m-rated machine is also one of the most prominent players in the division, with pundit Paul Parker suggesting that he is “the best central midfield player in the country”, such has been his standout form of late.
In recent seasons, in particular, the 29-cap colossus has been a real driving force for both club and country, while he compares favourably to those in his position across Europe’s top five leagues, ranking in the top 5% for interceptions made, as well as in the top 6% for pass completion and the top 9% for progressive carries.
That latter stat is no real surprise, in truth, with the marauding midfielder so often seen winning the ball back in the centre of the park and driving right at the heart of the opposition defence, with his powerful surging runs forward so vital to dragging David Moyes’ side up the pitch.
Of course, with that £150m figure that has been bandied about the former Everton boss could likely strengthen in a number of positions were Rice to be sold, although supporters will no doubt agree that he is a simply unique and irreplaceable asset who would leave a notable void were he to depart.
The Hammers only have to look at the mess that Tottenham Hotspur made with their sizeable, £80m Gareth Bale sale back in 2013, with Spurs proving that even seven new signings couldn’t replicate the talent of just one, leading figure.
It may not be this summer that GSB cash in on their man, although it could prove an anxious 12 months for supporters as they wait and see where the midfielder’s long-term future lies.